Excess body weight is one of the causes of foraminal narrowing

Excess body weight can contribute to foraminal narrowing within the spinal column. Our bodies rely on the spine to support us as we move by bending, twisting and rotating to perform our basic daily activities. But like any other part of the body, the spine’s components tend to naturally wear down over time. This deterioration and spine conditions that it can cause can contribute to foraminal narrowing.

Why weight can make a difference

Although the wearing down of the spine is most closely related to the natural aging process, it can be accelerated by carrying extra weight. The lumbar (lower) spine is already predisposed to injury due to the stress placed on it on a daily basis, but this region is put under even more pressure when there is more weight around the body’s midsection.

Degenerative spinal conditions

When the cartilage that links the vertebrae wears down, the bones stop gliding against one another, and instead, they grind causing joint inflammation, also called osteoarthritis. The bone-on-bone movement can cause the growth of bone spurs, which may lead to foraminal narrowing if the spurs jut into the spinal canal. Another cause of foraminal narrowing can be degenerative disc conditions like bulging, herniated or collapsed discs. Extra body weight compounds the pressure placed on the joints and discs in the spine, making it even more likely to develop foraminal narrowing and the accompanying symptoms.

Your next steps

If you have experienced foraminal narrowing due to excess body weight or any other risk factor, your physician will likely recommend that you address your symptoms using conservative approaches like physical therapy, spinal injections and making necessary lifestyle changes like following a nutrition or exercise plan to lose weight. Surgery can become a serious recommendation if pain becomes debilitating after following weeks and months of conservative treatment. For patients considering their surgical options, Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open spine procedures. Contact us today to learn more about our muscle-sparing approach and the advantages it can offer our patients.

A member of our caring team can help you receive your free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.